The Wisconsin Badgers started the season with uncertain expectations. Gone were leading scorer Jon Leuer and the hot three-point shooting of Keaton Nankivil. Still, the Wisconsin Badgers returned their glue in point guard Jordan Taylor, as well as the confidence of having earned 10 consecutive NCAA Tournament bids under head coach Bo Ryan.
They finished the regular season with a 24-9 record, once again earning a Top 15 ranking and a respectable seed in the NCAA Tournament. As the No. 4 seed in the East, Wisconsin faces No. 13 Montana in their first game.
Offensively, the team has been a mixed bag. The Badgers took a long time to develop a scorer other than Taylor, but Jared Berggren (10.4 points per game) and Ryan Evans (10.7 points) eventually became reliable options in Ryan's swing offense.
The Badgers seemed poised to overachieve during the 2011-12 season, with a three-point road loss to the No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels creating optimism. A 1-3 start to the conference season tempered expectations, however. Poor shooting from beyond the three-point arc accounted for much of the Badgers' struggles. Wisconsin went 15-for-70 from long range over the skid.
Wisconsin's defensive prowess helped the team stay competitive through their offensive struggles. The Badgers gave up just 51.8 points per game in conference play to lead the Big Ten, though that impressive statistic owes much to Ryan's slowed-down tempo on offense.
They made an impressive run in the Big Ten tournament, knocking off Indiana in the quarterfinals before succumbing to an eminently talented Michigan State squad, 65-52, in the semifinals. With the win over Indiana and a big win just more than a week earlier over Ohio State, Ryan has his team poised again to do some damage in March Madness.
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